BANGKOK, June 7 (AFP) – More than a thousand Thai government employees are caught up in lucrative drugs trafficking, a senior minister admitted Monday. Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Jurin Laksanavisit said 1,088 officials were involved in trafficking, most of them in the northeast and south of the country. “Most of the drug problem involves narcotics being smuggled in from outside the country,” he said. Jurin was speaking after seven suspected drugs traffickers were gunned down in an early morning firefight in northern Chiang Rai province. Police found more than a million amphetamines tablets in bags on the bodies of the gang, which had been trying to smuggle drugs in from Myanmar, officials said. Jurin, who oversees the Office of Narcotics Control Board has said in the past that involvement of officials is the biggest obstacle to surpressing the trade in illegal drugs. Most of the officials involved in the narcotics trade are thought to be police officers who directly traffic in drugs or aid their distribution. The government has issued a prime ministerial directive aimed at clamping down on the involvement with drugs among the country’s estimated two million strong civil service and state enterprise workers. Northern Thailand forms a corner of the infamous “Golden Triangle” – one of the world’s premier opium growing regions — along with parts of Myanmar and Laos. The amphetamine trade has also flourished in recent years, with many millions of tablets believed being produced here and in the border areas of Myanmar and Laos.
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